The Loto Instruments OSC482 USB oscilloscope is one of the most frequently used measuring instruments in my laboratory. I am delighted with it and has become a must-have. In this article I would like to introduce and recommend it to you, in case you are looking for an oscilloscope and my opinion can help you.
I have been encouraged to write this post by the fact that many of you have asked me about it directly and also because, as we have discussed in the Telegram group, many of you have bought other USB oscilloscopes, much more expensive than this one, and you are not at all happy with them.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will already be familiar with it, in some way, because the vast majority of oscilloscope captures on the blog are taken with this oscilloscope..
- 1 What makes the Loto Instruments OSC482 USB oscilloscope special?
- 2 Accessories for Loto Instruments OSC482 USB Oscilloscope
- 3 Other versions of Loto Instruments OSCxxxx
- 4 Buy Loto Instruments OSC482 USB Oscilloscope
- 5 Conclusion
What makes the Loto Instruments OSC482 USB oscilloscope special?
I think it will be easier to explain if I tell you about other oscilloscopes and how and when I use each of them.
I have three oscilloscopes in my laboratory:
- An inexpensive generic USB oscilloscope USBEE
- One Rigol DS1054Z benchtop oscilloscope
- Loto Instruments OSC482 USB Oscilloscope
By far the one I use the most is the Loto Instruments OSC482.
USB oscilloscope USBEE generic and low-cost USB oscilloscope
The first of these is a USBEE generic oscilloscopeThere are lots of them on sites like AliExpress or Amazon.
It works with software called USBee AX-Pro, like many of these generic oscilloscopes. Fortunately, of what is available for this type of oscilloscope, this software is one of the best.
I believe that the software they supply it with is pirated and, since I bought it, it has never been updated.
The problem is that the hardware capacity is very low, with a very low bandwidth and an even lower sampling rate, and the software is quite bad, although there are worse.
Of course, the oscilloscope has no memory, which makes it entirely dependent on the software and its limited ability to transfer data via the USB port.
This oscilloscope also has logic analyser, but I don't like their software, so I have another, similar, which uses the Seale software.
I don't recommend it, although I can't say it doesn't work.I had the Rigol DS1054Z, because when it was the only one I had it did me good service, but that was until I got the Rigol DS1054Z, at which point I never used it again, and, above all, the Loto Instruments OSC482.
The Rigol DS1054Z Desktop Oscilloscope
The Rigol DS1054Z oscilloscope is a mid-range oscilloscope, from a brand known for its good instruments, with a very good price-quality ratio, which has become almost the most popular instrument in the market. standard in benchtop oscilloscopes for makers.
It is a good oscilloscope, around 400€, with four channels and also software hackable so you can increase its bandwidth up to 100Mhz and enable decoding of many protocols, bringing it closer to the capabilities of much more expensive oscilloscopes.
It is a very good device, but I still use the Loto Instruments OSC482 much more often. Why, if the Rigol DS1054Z is superior? Because of the following:
- I often have to make quick measurements and switching on the Rigol DS1054Z is more cumbersome. It takes longer to start up, going through its menus to adjust it to what you want to measure takes more time...
- If I want to take a screenshot, or record a video, of what I'm measuring (for the blog or for reference so I don't forget it while I'm working on something, without having to write it down on paper or on the computer), doing it on the Loto Instruments OSC482 is much faster and more convenient.
- I find it much easier to see the information on a PC monitor than on the screen of the Rigol DS1054Z, on which, when there starts to be a lot of information, things are very small (especially text). Of course, this is not helped by my eyestrain.
- The vast majority of the time, I don't need the extended features or functionality that the Rigol DS1054Z provides, and the Loto Instruments OSC482 is more than sufficient.
- Sometimes I have to decode protocols and the Loto Instruments OSC482 decodes RS-232, RS-485/422, I²C, CAN and SPI, while the Rigol DS1054Z only decodes, as far as I remember, RS232, I²C and SPI and, in my opinion, does it worse and is more cumbersome.
What if I use the Rigol DS1054Z instead of the Loto Instruments OSC482?
Especially when I'm working with video signals.
One limitation of the Loto Instruments OSC482 is that it has no hardware Tigger, only software Tigger, so capturing a complex signal, such as a composite video signal, at the right time, and viewing it correctly with the Loto Instruments OSC482 I would say is impossible.
I also use it when I want to see something in real timewithout any delay.
- The real-time sampling rate of 1 GSa/s and memory of up to 24 Mpts can allow zooming in on a selected part of the captured waveforms for more details and scrolling within the measurement points. Various standard triggering and bus decoding. Trigger: Windows, Nth Edge, Delay, Timeout, Runt, RS232 / UART, I²C and SPI. Decoding: RS232 / UART, I²C, SPI.
- Waveform capture speed of up to 30,000 wfms/s, allowing users to capture instantaneous signals as well as abnormal signals more quickly. Up to 60,000 recorded waveforms can be conveniently recorded, displayed and analysed, which also helps to improve waveform capture capability and speed up a course of circuit debugging.
- 7-inch TFT WVGA (800×480) LCD, "Multilevel Intensity Rating" display, also extensive signal characteristics with a large number of measured values can be fully displayed. Wavefrom brightness is adjustable. The modern and advanced mathematical waveform system can solve complicated signal calculations quite simply with predefined formulas.
- Automatic measurement of 37 waveform parameters (with statistics) simultaneously and displays statistics for each parameter (maximum, minimum and average values). Pass/fail tests can be used for troubleshooting in various environments, such as communication networks. Built-in FFT function and 6-bit hardware counter (channels are selectable) Software download: https://rigolshop.eu/pub/media/wysiwyg/download/oscilloscope_software.rar
- Low noise floor, vertical scale range: 1 mV/div to 10 V/div. Multiple interfaces: USB host and device, LAN (LXI), AUX. Complies with LXI CORE 2011 DEVICE class instrument standards and supports remote command control. Accessories include 4 probes, a USB cable, a power cable. German operating instructions: https://rigolshop.eu/pub/media/wysiwyg/download/oscilloscope.rar
Loto Instruments OSC482 USB Oscilloscope
A very important qualitative leap, with respect to the generic USB oscilloscope, both in hardware and software.
I'm not going to tell you much about it here, because for that we already have this whole post, although I will briefly tell you the following, to compare the points I mentioned in the previous one:
I like your software and it has a lot of functionalities. It is true that you have to get used to it, because it has some peculiarities, but you get used to it very quickly.
By the way, the software is frequently updated and interesting new features are added very often.
Its bandwidth is much wider, 20Mhz, and its sampling rate is also much higher at 50M s/s.
In addition, by having much more powerful hardware and memory in the device itself, its possibilities are much greater and it is less affected by the limitations that the data transmission capacity of the USB port may have, because much of the work is done by the oscilloscope and it only communicates "the results" to the software, so it does not need to transfer as much data.
One interesting and curious thing about the Loto Instruments OSC482 USB oscilloscope is that its software interface protocol is documented and, according to the manufacturer (although I have not found it), there is an SDK in case we want to write our own software for it or integrate it with other systems.
Also its 15-pin expansion connector is documented and the manufacturer even explains how the user can connect his own probes and accessories.
I have owned (and still own) several USB oscilloscopes and the truth is that they were very limited and far from what a real oscilloscope is. I thought that all USB oscilloscopes were like that, but my experience and my opinion has changed completely with this OSC482.
Instead of leaving you here with an endless list of specifications and technical features, I think it is better to leave you with the full manufacturer's manual so that you have all the information at your fingertips:
Accessories for Loto Instruments OSC482 USB Oscilloscope
There are many accessories for Loto Instruments oscilloscopes. Below you can see the main ones, indicating with which model each of the included accessories is supplied:
In the following list you can see what each of them does:
Here are the accessories I have, with a short commentary on each of them:
Differential isolation module
This module is very useful in many occasions (I will write about what is an isolation difference module or "differential probe" and when to use it).
I use it very little for the following reason:
I messed up when I bought it and bought the one with a bandwidth of only 50Khz (the IDM01) instead of buying the one with a bandwidth of 300 Khz (IDM03).
The IDM01 with its 50Khz may be fine for some things, such as audio tracks, but I use it mostly on repair of switch-mode power suppliesand many of these sources handle frequencies above 100Khz.
I have another, more "professional" probe, the differential probe Micsig DP10007which is the one I usually use. With its 100Mhz bandwidth and 700V isolation (in X100 mode) it is just what I need.
LOTO S02 Signal Generator
This signal generator Loto S02 I do not recommend it.
It has very few options, it only generates square, sine and triangular waves, the amplitude of the generated signal is very small and the quality of the signals is not very good.
And the worst thing is that every time you touch one parameter all the others change.
I have a function generator FeelTech FY3200-24Mhz I would not use it if I didn't have it, but if I only had this Loto signal generator, I don't think I would use it.
To give you an idea of how low its usefulness is, I have not been able to generate a signal as basic for any signal generator as a 25Khz PWM signal with an amplitude of 3.3V and a duty cycle of the 50%.
Maybe that's why they refer to it as ".Signal generator"and not "Function generator".
High voltage probe Cleqee P4100 100Mhz 100:1 2KV
It is a good complement to work with high voltages up to 2KV.
It has an attenuation of X100 (instead of X1 and X10 of the probes that come with the oscilloscope), which gives extra measurement capability and safety.
Other versions of Loto Instruments OSCxxxx
There are several versions of the Loto Instruments OSC482, my exact model is the OSC482L (with built-in 4-channel logic analyser).
Below, you can see the differences between the existing versions (click on the image if you need to see it bigger):
Buy Loto Instruments OSC482 USB Oscilloscope
I bought the oscilloscope in March 2021 and it cost me exactly 50,36€.
Since then the price has gone up, like everything to do with electronics, and it costs in the region of €90 but is still a perfect buy.
The oscilloscope I use in my day-to-day life
For me it is the best in its price range and even better than many much more expensive ones.
Don't be fooled by its "unknown" brand name, it is much better and cheaper than the ubiquitous Hantek USB oscilloscopes, which you can find on Amazon.
You can find by clicking on here is the AliExpress page where to buy the OSC482.
As far as I know, it is the official shop of the brand and is fully recommended. Has a 100% of positive reviews (there are not many shops on AliExpress that have been around for years and have 100% positive reviews).
If you want a USB oscilloscope that really works, I highly recommend it.
Cuesta around 90 euros and you can find it here: Loto Instruments OSC482 USB Oscilloscope
The particular model that I have purchased is the OSC482L, which includes 4-channel logic analyser.
It has become one of the instruments I use the most on a daily basis. It is super easy for me to check what a microprocessor is doing, if a power supply is stable, if a sensor is communicating well, and many other things...